On Wednesday night, Rangers will look to take another SPL scalp in the League Cup as Inverness Caledonian Thistle, who are managed by former Rangers captain Terry Butcher, come calling.
The Ibrox side, who finally hit the top of Division Three, surprised many by comfortably beating Motherwell 2-0 at home in the last round, when the Fir Park side were top of the SPL.
Ally McCoist’s side delivered easily their best performance of the season on that night, dominating their opponents from kick off.
Away from home, Rangers have shown a lack of desire, tempo and an urgency to win games although they finally broke their away duck against Clyde this weekend winning 2-0.
Just like last month’s cup game, the SPL side (in this instance Inverness) have to be the favourites for tomorrow night’s game, despite Rangers having the home advantage and also still having a number of SPL players in their side.
Inverness have enjoyed a fine start to the season in the top flight and they currently sit fifth in the table. Whilst they have only won three of their 11 games played so far, they have only lost two and these were to Celtic and Motherwell. They have also won three out of their last four matches, convincingly beating Dundee United, Ross County and Dundee and were only denied a fourth successive victory when St.Johnstone equalised in the last-minute on Saturday at the Caledonian Stadium.
If their captain Richie Foran is fit for the Halloween match, then he could prove a frightening prospect for the Rangers defence. The ex-Motherwell forward has five goals in only seven appearances for the Highlanders this season.
Former Rangers winger Andrew Shinnie will also have to be contained as he has seven goals in 13 games so far, whilst Billy McKay is another to look out for having bagged three goals in his last two matches.
Rangers may not have conceded that many goals this season and indeed managed to shut out Motherwell, they have still looked very shaky at the back.
Long balls in particular haven’t been dealt with forcefully enough by the centre back pairing of Emilson Cribari and Ross Perry all season and if Inverness have their shooting boots on, they could punish Rangers.
Going forward though, Rangers still have an array of talent that can beat just about any side. Lee McCulloch is relishing his new striking role having bagged 14 goals already this season. The returning Andy Little has given his side a fresh energy in the last two matches and also knows the way to goal having bagged seven goals before injury struck.
Dean Shiels scored a superb goal against Clyde, also bagging a goal against Motherwell in the previous round and has the skills to breach the Inverness defence.
It will be interesting to see what formation both managers line-up with. In years gone by, Terry Butcher would have come to Ibrox in a defensive frame of mind hoping to catch something on the break. He will surely be more adventurous on Wednesday night and will be looking to create as many chances as possible.
As for Ally McCoist, he has persisted with one striker up front for all of the season and it’s hard to think he’ll change it for a game against an SPL side. Ian Black and Kyle Hutton will most likely line-up in the midfield to give the defence that added protection.
It is hard to make any clear-cut predictions ahead of the match. Against Motherwell, Rangers showed the quality and commitment is still there and is capable of beating any side.
In losing to Stirling Albion ten days later, they very much looked like a side that belonged in Division Three. If it was any other Division Three side they were facing Inverness would be odds-on to progress to the semi-finals.
Since it is Rangers they are lining up against, Wednesday night might have a few twists in store.